Printer-friendly version
Anna Heifetz

Wrist Vibrato, Part Three

March 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

(For more entries on wrist vibrato:
Here is Wrist Vibrato, Part 1
Here is Wrist Vibrato, Part 2
Here is Wrist Vibrato, Part 4
Here is Wrist Vibrato, Part 5)

(taken from a letter from my father-in-law, Michael Heifetz, 3/17/12)

Continuation: Development/Exercises

Second Exercise (for mindset and first exercise please see previous post).
1. Practice a slow, fluid rocking motion of the wrist for each finger. You are establishing the basic oscillation movement thoughtfully, in slow motion. This helps establish a reference standard in your mind- something that can be replicated at various widths and speeds as your vibrato develops.

2. Start each note below the pitch, perhaps as much as a half step below pitch. The forearm should have little movement, just sympathetic. Again, nothing is absolutely stiff and immobile, but you do not activate movement of the forearm directly.

3. Contact the string well back of the tip of each finger, on the pad. The hand should be bent at the wrist backward toward the scroll. Now, rock the hand toward, pivoting on the wrist. As the hand rocks forward (toward your face), the finger will also rock at the point of contact on the string. You don't intentionally rock the finger. It happens as a response to the wrist movement. Again, the impulse emanated from the palm of the hand, not the finger or the arm. The forearm remains relatively stable, although there may be some small motion. It is not stiff. The violin also remains relatively stable.

4. Begin this practice of the rocking motion in the third or fourth position with the hand touching the body of the instrument. This will keep the forearm from moving as you pivot on the wrist. It often helps to watch yourself in the mirror. This can help you identify and correct your movements.

5. After you are comfortable with this rocking motion for each finger, and each string in the 3rd and 4th position, practice the same type of rocking motion beginning in the first position. Then, practice everything above on each finger, each string, and each position, varying.

6. If you feel further refinement is needed, practice the same movement doing very slow scales, one note for each bow length.

(written by Michael Heifetz/edited by Anna)

Next lesson: Impulse Practice, and the Final Lesson: Reminders for Practicing and Integration into Normal Playing.

From Kevin Robinson
Posted on March 26, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Excellent! Excellent!!
These articles are incredibly helpful, even if I am a 46 yr old player ?

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker

Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal
Miroirs CA Classical Music Journal

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Classic Violin Olympus

Coltman Chamber Music Competition

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Jargar Strings


Violin Lab



Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine